Businesses earn cold hard cash in heat wave

By Carly O'Keefe - bio | email

MARION, IL (KFVS) - With temperatures reaching upwards of 100 degrees in parts of southern Illinois, businesses that offer a place to cool off or cold items on the menu are seeing some cold hard cash in this heat wave.

Many malls have regular morning walkers, but when the mercury rises more outdoor walkers come in to Illinois Center Mall in Marion. Randy Carney and his daughter normally walk the bike trail at Rend Lake, but not this week.

"We're walking the mall because it's so hot," Carney said.

More foot traffic in the mall means more potential business for Brenda Cody at her store, the Country Gourmet.

"We're doing sidewalk sales right now, so when you get the mall walkers in and they can window shop and see what we've got, it definitely brings more in," Cody said.

"Where I get tempted, I walk by the book worm and want to go in," said Carney.

By mid-afternoon, the southern Illinois sun is scorching, leaving many folks to search for something to do indoors.

At Herrin Bowl in Energy, owner Tim LaBotte says summer is usually his slow season. But recently, the unbearable heat has brought more bowlers thru his door.

"We have seen a difference in business," LaBotte said. "This part of August, now that it's gotten so hot, people are tired of being inside. And they don't want to go outside because they don't want to be miserable."

That's what prompted father and son Rob and Nick Hunter to trade their baseball cleats in for bowling shoes - at least for one afternoon.

"We were looking for something to do I mentioned batting cages, hitting some golf balls playing catch, all stuff outside," said Rob Hunter. "It's just so hot, and we're driving by and he said let's go bowling! So here we are."

Meantime, in Marion's Town and Country Shopping Center parking lot, a constant flow of snow-cone lovers looking to cool down from the inside out kept a tropic snow stand hopping.

Employees say the Hawaiian shaved ice hut will sell 75 or more snow cones in a day, which add up to steady cash flow in this recent heat wave.

"Everyone wants something to cool down and this is the place to be," said employee Jessica Newsom.

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